Monday, March 17, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop - my turn: I was Tagged!!!

Hey beautiful people!

After a very long time, I am coming on with a post about my own writing. Yes, lots happening in the background; I'll keep you posted when it comes to the light, but anywho, today...

So, there's this blog hop going on for weeks now - the Writing Process Blog Hop. A set of 4 questions about how you write, and the authors who take part tag others. I got tagged by the lovely Kathy Bosman, who writes simply breathtaking and achingly sweet, heartfelt romance. I edited her book Dragonfly Moments, and it's one that brought tears to my eyes more than once. Kathy has a knack of bringing emotion from deep inside her characters' hearts to the fore - you are always in for a journey inside the heart with her books. You can find her writing process blog post here.

Now, 4 questions. Here we go!

1. What am I working on?

I'm currently on Book 3 of the ongoing, UF/PNR series Eternelles that is co-written with my bestie, Natalie G. Owens. At every moment of the year, she and I are working at some point or the other of this nine-book series that spans the plot over 3 seasons that mimics the arc of TV shows.

I also find myself most of the time with a slew of edits to contend with - yes, feels good to say that I have a few works contracted atm. *grin*

But then, the biggest project taking my attention right now is a project I have pitched to the emerging Temptations line at Decadent Publishing. Think settings and plots like Dynasty, Revenge, Gossip Girl, Dirty Sexy Money - the upper-crust world, the riches, the drama, the high-end conflicts, the exotic & exclusive settings/locales...and imagine this all written in the in-your-face manner of red-hot reads like Harlequin Blaze. At the heart of the Temptations line is a club known as The Legacy Club - and all the books have to start and/or end at this setting, with one or both of the protagonists being successful billionaires who belong to this elite club.

The title of my story is Breaking Free, and I'm turning my project around in typical category-romance style and fashion. My heroine, Leah de St Andre, is an heiress who recently discovered her illustrious ties to one of the richest men in Europe. A former bad girl who always went off the tracks, she is working hard to be the good girl everyone can count on now. And maybe, she is working too hard....
Then there's the hero - Malcolm Darcy, Earl of Browning. He's the good boy who's always stepped up to the plate to do what's been expected of him.
When these two's paths collide, it's an explosion. Leah finds the perfect compromise if she were to be with Malcolm: she could loosen him up all while not losing her grip on being the 'good' girl. And stiff & by the book Malcolm could do with a touch of flight and fancy in his life.
A match made in heaven, right? Except that there are sinister forces on both Leah and Malcolm's sides that are plotting their downfall, and when "the enemy of your enemy becomes your friend", chaos is just round the bend for these two....

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I tend to bring a multicultural flair to all my stories. I love different, exotic cultures - I myself am a melting pot of cultures, having grown up on rainbow island Mauritius - and it's always a lot of fun for me to research different ways of life and then incorporating these into my characters' lives. Quite a lot of my heroines have Indian origins, like me, and a few of them have strong, abiding ties to Britain, again like me. Yet another heroine, and her hero, are Muslims (Once Upon A Second Chance) and they portray an aspect of my own faith in - I hope! - a manner that Muslims and non-Muslims alike can 'get'.

I guess I'd say it's the cultural dimension that is different in my stories. I also love taking my readers to exotic and/or little known or seen settings in my books (example, Mauritius, or Prague, or yet again, English country life in Surrey or North Yorkshire).

3. Why do I write what I do?

I love romance! *grin* Plain and simple. There's nothing quite like HEA to make the world right around me, and with life already hard enough, I yearn for the escapism of romance with a guaranteed happy ending to be my lifeline, to help me put everything else in perspective because I get to let go through my reading and writing.

Then the culture and different settings? I love to travel, but I'm not able to thanks to financial constraints. So I enjoy travelling through books - best of both worlds. I relax by reading; I find my equilibrium through the hope and drive of a HEA in the story; I get to escape and armchair-travel to other places and get to discover the people and their ways of life in the process.

I want to give this feeling to my readers, too. I want them to know that when they pick up one of my books, they will be settling down to take a journey along the pages to some little-known country/region and often-unfamiliar culture.

And yes, too - if I didn't write, I'd go crazy. The voices, you know.... *smile*

4. How does your writing process work?

It's almost always the characters who come to me. I see them fully fleshed and formed, and will already know, most of the time, who they are, what they want, and what's keeping them from their goals. It's then a question of pitting them against one another, and seeing how the conflict can firstly grow, and then how said conflict can be resolved to bring a happy ending (or the ending I am getting to - I sometimes find myself writing romantic suspense, and the goal there is HEA plus the resolution of the suspense angle, too).

I 'daydream' my stories - once I have the characters in mind, I let them loose in my head and I will imagine/visualize what is happening or to happen to them like a movie were playing out in my head. And yes, I tend to 'zone out' sometimes when I'm imagining these scenes - I often have no clue how I have finished the laundry or done the dishes while my brain was busy coming up with the next 'scene' in the movie of the story.

So by the time I put fingers to keyboard, I will more often than not already know the story from start to end. The details are fuzzy - and these will come when I'm actually writing. But the gist of it - A to B  to C to get to Z - this is already there. I just need to take the road, so to speak, when I start writing, and navigate the pot holes and catch the scenery as I'm going along. And I think this might be one of the reasons I sometimes find myself able to write a full draft in a matter of 1-2 weeks; it's because I know where I'm going and have alreasy worked out in my head where the dead-end walls might lurk so I don't slam into them and just keep going down the road towards the finish line.

So there you have it - my (very long and very convoluted!) writing process! Sadly, I am not tagging anyone, because it appears everyone I thought of has either already been tagged, or won't be free to blog on March 24. It's just me here, but I hope this shed some light on how I work.

From Mauritius with love,



Kathy Bosman said...

Thank you, Zee, for those wonderful words! Lovely to read about your writing process. Some day, I'd like to know how you co-author a book.

Nana Prah said...

Your writing process sounds awesome. I'd love to be able to see my book as a movie in my head first.

Anonymous said...

I love your slice of a different life that you present so well to U.S. readers. I too, would love to travel but can't or maybe won't LOL but I can travel through your books to another culture any time and I appreciate being able to do that.

Leigh Hann said...

Lovely post Zee. I've browsed through your trackers on your sidebar and noticed you are quite a busy woman and author!! Multi-tasking galore. Thumbs up for you managing it all and of course family life in-between. Yep, would love to travel, but for now it has to be in my head. Going places and exploring-don't you just love being a writer? There are no limits to where you could go.

Teri Riggs said...

Thanks for the great post. I enjoyed learning about your writing process.

Amanda Holly said...

Wow Zee you sound like a very busy lady! And then to think of all those characters in your head - taking up more of your time! I'm in awe! Thanks for letting us take a look inside your writing life!

Unknown said...

Great post! I love hearing about other people's writing process.